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5 Types of Shoulder Surgeries to Address Your Pain

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Surgery may be necessary to restore functionality and alleviate discomfort when shoulder pain becomes chronic or limits your daily activities. When other non-surgical methods have failed, orthopedic specialists use several types of surgeries to address various shoulder conditions and injuries.

Understanding these procedures and their potential benefits can help you make informed decisions about your shoulder health.

1.   Rotator Cuff Repairs: Restoring Shoulder Function

The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing strength for overhead activities, stability and allowing for a wide range of motion. Rotator cuff repairs are performed to address tears in these tendons, which can occur due to acute injuries or from wear and tear over time. 

This surgery is usually done in a minimally invasive arthroscopic fashion, and patients can go home the same day.  The surgery involves reattaching the torn tendons back to the bone to restore strength and function to the shoulder. This procedure is recommended when conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms or in cases of significant tears.

2.   SLAP Repairs: Treating Labral Tears

The labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the shoulder socket, or glenoid.  The labral can be torn in different areas of the socket.  A Superior Labrum Anterior and Posterior (SLAP) tear is a common injury that affects the labrum at the top of the socket, where the biceps tendon inserts.  SLAP repairs involve reattaching or removing the torn labrum to restore stability and function to the shoulder joint. This surgery is typically recommended for patients with persistent shoulder pain, instability, and decreased range of motion.

3.   Acromioclavicular (AC) Joint Separations: Stabilizing the Shoulder

The acromioclavicular (AC) joint is located at the top of the shoulder, where the collarbone meets the shoulder blade.  The most common AC joint injury occurs when falling directly onto the shoulder, causing the bones to move out of alignment, or separate.  This is called an AC joint separation.  When there is a significant displacement of the AC joint, the bone are out of alignment and pushing up on the skin causing pain and deformity.  In these cases, an AC joint reconstruction is performed to realign the AC joint. The surgery involves reconstructing or stabilizing the ligaments that hold the joint together. AC joint repairs are recommended when non-surgical treatments have failed to provide relief or in cases of severe instability.

4.   Shoulder Replacement: Restoring Function and Reducing Pain

Shoulder arthritis is a common problem when the ball and socket have lost the cartilage or cushion between them.  Often bone spurs develop and patients have pain and stiffness in the shoulder.  When patients have failed conservative care such as cortisone shots and medications, then shoulder replacement surgery, also known as shoulder arthroplasty, is performed.  This is a procedure used to replace damaged parts of the shoulder joint with artificial components. It is commonly performed for severe arthritis or degenerative conditions that cause significant pain, loss of function, and limited mobility. Shoulder replacement surgery can provide pain relief, improve joint stability, and restore a better range of motion.

5.   Arthroscopy for Frozen Shoulder: Treating Adhesive Capsulitis

Frozen shoulder, also known as adhesive capsulitis, is a condition characterized by stiffness and pain in the shoulder joint. Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that can be used to diagnose and treat frozen shoulder. It involves inserting a small camera and specialized instruments into the joint to remove scar tissue and release tight structures, allowing for improved mobility and pain relief.

Recovery and Results

The recovery period and results of shoulder surgery vary depending on the procedure and individual circumstances. Following surgery, rehabilitation, including physical therapy, is crucial to regain strength, restore range of motion, and ensure a successful outcome. Your orthopedic team will provide specific instructions on post-operative care and guide you through the rehabilitation process.

It's important to note that surgery is not always the first-line treatment for shoulder conditions. Non-surgical options, such as rest, physical therapy, medication, and injections, are often explored initially. However, when conservative measures fail to provide satisfactory relief or when the severity of the condition requires surgical intervention, these procedures can offer significant benefits.

Find Relief with Fox Valley Orthopedics

If you are experiencing persistent shoulder pain or have been diagnosed with a shoulder condition that may require surgical intervention, it is essential to consult with an experienced orthopedic specialist.

The team at Fox Valley Orthopedics has extensive expertise in diagnosing and treating various shoulder conditions, offering a comprehensive range of surgical and non-surgical options. They can evaluate your condition, discuss treatment options, and guide you toward the most appropriate course of action based on your specific needs.

Take the first step towards restoring your shoulder health by scheduling your first appointment today!